Discussion Guide Template

Kicking off a new Suzy Live project? We can’t wait to get things underway! While we screen for your interview participants, it’s critical to develop and finalize a Discussion Guide before your first interview is set to take place.

Discussion Guides are a necessary step for live interviews with consumers. A Discussion Guide allows moderators to have a clear sense of what needs to be covered based on the project goal(s). Keep in mind, a Discussion Guide is just a guide. Moderators may skip around to different sections, or go deep into a particular topic based on the participant and the information provided during the interview.

We’ve provided you with a simple Discussion Guide template below for a 60 minute interview. Adapt the Discussion Guide to your needs based on the project’s goals. We suggest allocating about 2 minutes per question during the interview time (approximately 15 questions for a 30 minute interview or 30 questions for a 60 minute interview). Be sure to include timestamps for each section of the Guide so you can stay on track during the conversation and be sure you have time to cover everything!


Introductions — 5 minutes

Introduce yourself, introduce the project, tell them why you’re interviewing people like them.

Let the participant know what to expect during the interview and give them a chance to ask questions. Most people wont have been interviewed before so take the time to put them at ease, make eye contact and smile!

Getting to know your participant — 5 minutes

Start broad, ask them about their life, job, hobbies, family. Get them used to the process of being asked and answering questions. 

More focused questions — 10 minutes

You should move toward the detailed area gradually; ask more specific questions but still keep things open. For example, a project doing research into festivals might gradually move toward the topic area by talking about music, food, or other outside activities.

Detailed questions — 20 minutes

Now it’s time to get into the detailed questions around your research question. This time should be subdivided into smaller sections to keep the conversation varied and interesting.

Exercises — 15 minutes

To go deeper and probe more, participant exercises can be a great way to liven things up. There are a wide range of exercises you can try with users: word association, mood board review, first word comes to mind, card sort, “if you had a magic wand” questions etc.

Plan questions around the exercise in the same way as you planned the questions in the rest of the discussion guide.